The Mexico City Zócalo
Plaza de la Constitución is more popularly known as Mexico City’s Zócalo. The main city plaza, it’s the frequent site of some of Mexico City’s most important events. It’s nearly empty in the photo above, but don’t be surprised if it’s not empty when you visit. Year-round, there are events, fairs, carnivals, concerts and art performances and works.
The same square was the center of the ancient city of Tenochtitlan. The Spanish made it into the center of their political and religious lives too. So it remains.
The Zócalo is bordered to the north by the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City. To the east is the National Palace, the seat of the Federal Government. To the south are the Historic City Hall and the City Government buildings. The west side of the square is lined with private buildings, but mostly containing government offices, and the terrace restaurants to which you’ll likely be invited. Many of them offer outstanding views of the Zócalo and the entire east side of the city.
As efforts to revitalize the Centro Histórico have taken shape over the years, the Zócalo has been setting for concerts, artistic happenings, and cultural events, and it’s often the culmination point for public protests. The artistic photographer Spencer Tunick photographed 18,000 people here and temporary ice-skating rinks have been a popular site for city’s residents since 2007.
Concerts by groups like Café Tacuba have drawn nearly 100,000 fans and Shakira drew slightly over twice that many. Whatever is happening when you arrive, even if the square happens to be empty, it’s the space upon which much of Mexico City’s history has been written, and you’ll be a part of that.